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Yoga is a system of breathing movements and postures that has been practiced for over 6,000 years. Many different forms of movement developed, in response to climate, culture, body constitution, lifestyle, and the physical environment. Each form of yoga has a particular emphasis, but will incorporate facets of other forms. Some of the more physical yoga forms are:

  • Hatha: Concentration on postures and movement, stretching and toning the body.
  • Kundalini: Concentration on the spinal column, strengthening and balancing the nervous system.
  • Pranayama: Concentration on breathing, strengthing and balancing of the respiratory system.

The nerves that go to all parts of the body branch our from the spinal cord. Through postures and breathing, yoga focuses on this all-important area. Spine flexibility requires that the spine be stretched in all its six possible directions: bending forward, backward, to each side, and twisting to each side. Stretching is the key to relieving tension and releasing energy.

Yoga has been described as a methodical manipulation of the body. The postures and routines emphasize proper warm-up with gradual advancement of posture difficulty. Poses are sequenced so that both sides are worked adjunctively, providing a complementary balance.

Physical balance, relaxation, alertness, calm centeredness, and harmony are integral to the discipline of yoga. All movements are performed slowly, rhythmically, and with full attention from the center of one's being. A pose is assumed and then held while the practitioner "feels" the body and the energy generated by the position. Breathing fully, quietly, and calmly is also an integral part of holding the position.

Yoga reserves the effects of gravity's downward pull on the vital organs and glands in the body. Inversion increases blood supply to organs and glands.

Discipline in the practice of yoga is not limited to just setting aside a time to exercise. In addition to learning and coordinating the various body postures and breathing, patience with your own performance is necessary. The body experiences changes as each new posture created the opportunity for growth and expansion. There will be days of practice when the body will not perform to the standard of the previous day. This apparent plateau is nothing more than the body preparing to take the next step forward to increased capabilities.

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DISCLAIMER: **This web site's goal is to provide you with information that may be useful in attaining optimal health. Nothing in it is meant as a prescription or as medical advice. You should check with your physician before implementing any changes in your exercise or lifestyle habits, especially if you have physical problems or are taking medications of any kind.